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No Exclusivity Over Descriptive And Common Elements Of Trademark

In the case at hand, the appellant challenges an order restraining them from adopting the trademark 'DD Free Dish' pending disposal of the suit. The principal question revolves around the similarity between the marks 'Dish TV' and 'DD Free Dish' and the extent of exclusivity afforded to descriptive and common elements such as 'Dish'. This article provides a detailed legal analysis of the court's decision and its implications regarding the protection of descriptive and common marks in trademark law.

Assessment of Similarity:
The court's decision to allow the appeal rests on the analysis of the similarity between the marks 'Dish TV' and 'DD Free Dish'. While both marks contain the term 'Dish', the court emphasizes that this term is descriptive and common to the trade, primarily referring to the dish antenna used in direct-to-home (DTH) services. Additionally, the presence of 'TV' in 'Dish TV' and 'Free' in 'DD Free Dish' distinguishes the marks further. The court concludes that, aside from the shared term 'Dish', there is no substantial similarity between the marks.

Distinctiveness and Consumer Perception:
Central to the court's decision is the consideration of the distinctiveness of the appellant's mark, which includes the well-known trade name 'DD'. The inclusion of 'DD' alongside 'Dish' in the mark 'DD Free Dish' serves to indicate the distinctive origin of the appellant's services to the general public.

The court emphasizes that consumers are unlikely to be confused regarding the origin of the services due to the presence of 'DD' in the mark. This underscores the importance of considering the overall impression created by the mark and its association with the appellant's reputation and trade name.

No exclusivity over descriptive and common elements of Trademark:
The court's decision reflects a nuanced understanding of trademark law, particularly regarding descriptive and common elements. While trademarks are intended to distinguish the goods or services of one entity from another, exclusivity over descriptive or common terms may be limited.

In industries such as DTH services, where terms like 'Dish' are generic and essential components, trademark protection may be narrower. The court's ruling highlights the need to balance the protection of legitimate trademarks with the recognition of common industry terminology.

The case exemplifies the complexities involved in trademark disputes, particularly concerning descriptive and common marks. The court's decision underscores the importance of assessing the overall impression created by a mark and considering its association with the origin of goods or services. While trademarks play a crucial role in branding and consumer identification, their protection is not absolute, especially when they contain elements common to an industry.

Case Title: Prasar Bharti Vs Dish Tv India Ltd
Order Date: 06.03.2024
Case No. FAO(OS)(COMM) 267/2019
Neutral Citation:2024:DHC:1855-DB
Name of Court: Delhi High Court
Name of Hon'ble Judge : Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan H.J.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be construed as substitute for legal advice as Ideas, thoughts, views, information, discussions and interpretation perceived and expressed herein are are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue of law involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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